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Chitra Ramkrishna as NSE chief was a puppet in hands of ‘Spiritual Guru,’ says SEBI report

Chitra Ramkrishna.(File Photo)

In a case of "bizarre misconduct", Chitra Ramkrishna as the CEO of National Stock Exchange (NSE), shared confidential information including financial projections, business plans and board agenda with a purported ‘spiritual guru’ living in the Himalayas, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has said in its investigation report.

The report by the market regulator makes the startling revelation that the nameless' spiritual guru in the Himalayas was influencing key business decisions at the country's largest stock exchange.

SEBI said documentation it had gathered during a probe "clearly showed" that the yogi was running the NSE, and Ms Ramkrishna was "merely a puppet in his hands" until the end of her time in the role. However, the SEBI report has not named the spiritual guru.

The regulator said it had come across email exchanges between the guru and Ms Ramkrishna during an earlier investigation into the NSE.

Ms Ramkrishna, who was among the executives who started the NSE in the early 1990s, cited "personal reasons" when she left the exchange in 2016. NSE was caught in the algorithm scam at the time which led to the regulator launching the investigation that has brought these issues to light.

SEBI fined Ms Ramkrishna Rs 3 crore and banned her for three years from working with any stock exchange or any firm registered with the regulator as an intermediary.

No other identifying details were provided by the regulator, except that the yogi is likely to be living in the Himalayan mountain range.

In a submission to SEBI, Ms Ramkrishna said she met the yogi on the banks of the Ganga nearly two decades ago.

Ms Ramkrishna said she had sought his advice on "many personal and professional matters" ever since.

"As we know, senior leaders often seek informal counsel from coaches, mentors or other seniors in this industry which are all purely informal in nature. In a similar strain I felt that this guidance would help me perform my role better," she said.

SEBI called Ms Ramkrishna's actions a "glaring breach of regulations", and said her views that her actions did not cause any harm to the market were "absurd".